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Circus Xtreme Winter Quarters Week 3

Monday: a standard day.
Tuesday: The band finally got to have a sound check in the rehearsal space! We're making progress :)
During a break, I got this great video of one of our horses playing with a ball <3

On Wednesday we had our regular rehearsal, then played in the house again. We played music for the Bungee Act as they rehearsed. While we were practicing, some crew members were working on the lighting grid above our heads. It was a ballet of cherry pickers and scissor lifts.

Thursday was a day off. I joined Jameson at his apartment in Orlando, where we started our day with a tasty breakfast at Keke's Breakfast Cafe!

After that treat, we returned to the apartment to wrap each other's Christmas presents! He wrapped mine in the music room while I hogged the living room. Can't wait to exchange gifts soon :)

Then we went to run some errands. The original plan was for Jameson to drop me off at a mall while he shopped elsewhere for stocking stuffers. Our plan quickly changed when we discovered that the store he'd been set on no longer exists in Orlando. We decided instead to go play some Ingress...but where? It was a surprise!

Downtown Disney used to be Treasure Island. Now it's being redesigned, so many parts of it are under construction. You can still visit many of the shops and restaurants, and there are lots of Ingress portals for the nerds :P We spent an hour walking and playing, visiting the Lego store and a few other shops, while Jameson described what this section of the park used to be like (he used to work for Disney).

When we got hungry, there were plenty of great restaurants to choose from. We decided on Portobello Trattoria, a new Italian place. He got the chicken parm and I got a fantastic fresh gnocchi with pork ragu. Seriously the best meal I've had in the past month. Even though we were pretty full, we found room for a shared dessert: Fantasia di Meringata, a chocolate gelato and sorbet scoop coated in torched meringue. Beautiful for the eyes and the mouth :D

We went back to the apartment to relax for a bit before heading back to the train. It was a lovely day off thanks to Jameson's thoughtfulness and creativity <3

On Thursday and Friday, we got to come in late. When there isn't any new music for us, our boss is sensible enough to bring us in later so we can do run-throughs, saving everyone time. I'm very grateful for that. Lately we've been able to play through most of our music in the house after cast rehearsals are over. It feels great :)

On Saturday we received no new music, mainly because the Gold Unit had some last-minute changes to make. They go back on tour in about a week, so it's important that their show is at 100% before opening day. We were released from rehearsal early, and as a result Jameson and I were able to get to Tampa in time for a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert! They've got a new show this year called "Christmas Attic". Although I thought the story was not as touching and engaging as their classic "Christmas Eve and Other Stories", it was still very well done.

The band appeared from a "chest" in the "attic". Eight moveable, rotating screens provided some amazing effects. In this scene, they looked like windows hanging in the sky.


For solo moments, band members stood on moving platforms that rose up, rotated,
and drifted over the audience.

Vocals were fantastic. The whole show was a lot of fun! I was very happy that we were able to go.
And on the drive home...we saw a shooting star!!!

On Sunday, Brett brought in doughnuts to celebrate "Slick Sunday" (Slick used to bring doughnuts on Sundays when there was no train run). We were able to rehearse in the house a bit, then ran through a few things in the trailer. The Blue Unit bandmaster is here for a visit. Someone took a picture of all three bandmasters together...Brett (left), Wages (right) and Robbie (center). Almost too much awesome, if you ask me.

(photo courtesy Brett)

This week I noticed that people are beginning to decorate for the holidays. Someone has been adding lights and little blow-up figures to the end of the train.

Wardrobe/Laundry and the nursery have also set up a large Christmas displays at the building.

(photo courtesy Ryan)

I decided to stick some lights in my window too :)

Christmas is coming!!!

Other stuff:

A local report on the economic impact of Feld Entertainment's new facility (CLICK HERE to watch)

A brief article and video from "media day" at the building (CLICK HERE to read and watch video)
A really nice collection of photos taken on "media day", from the Bradenton Herald.

Ryan and Assan on "media day".

(photo courtesy Ryan)

Two REALLY cool videos from Ringling's YouTube channel this week: One from Ryan Henning on how animal specialists care for the elephants, and an awesome GoPro video from Alexander Lacey, the big cat trainer on the Blue Unit!

Some behind-the-scenes photos from our show, courtesy Ringling's Facebook:

Clown Alley goofing around the Christmas tree!

(photo courtesy Chris)

Blue Unit elephants are getting festive!

(photo courtesy Jonathan)